November 26, 2008

“Are unions killing the American auto business?”

Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan and Renault, was featured in Bigger Isn’t Always Better as a good example of an adaptive leader able to switch from “fixer” to “grower” orientations as the situation required. In a recent Business Week interview he displayed the mindset of a grower as he answered a question about labor’s role in renewing the US auto industry:

"Frankly, I don't think the question is unions.

The question is: Do you have the flexibility to operate and be competitive?

If a union helps you be flexible, then the union is an asset. If the union forbids or handicaps this flexibility to operate, then you have a problem. We have unions in France and Japan. If you can reach an agreement by which unions help you be flexible and [respond] to the market, in a certain way they become an asset."


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